Tangerine Poppy Seed Cake

This Tangerine Poppy Seed Cake is love at first bite. It’s moist and citrusy, and the poppy seeds give it this amazing light crunchy texture. Then there’s the glaze, it’s sweet and tangy. And best of all, this cake actually tastes like fresh tangerine.

Not only is this cake wonderfully delicious, but it’s educational. I learned so many things while making it.

I learned that orange extract is fabulous. It really does taste like fresh orange and it gave my cake that little extra citrus ooomph. It’s now a staple of my spice cabinet, and I liked it so much that I went out and bought lemon extract, too.

I learned that poppy seeds actually have a flavor. I thought they were just pretty and crunchy, but when you get enough of them together they have a kind of peppery scent and subtle taste. Scalding them in the milk first helps release some of that flavor by breaking down their outer casings.

I learned that non-stick bundt pans, like milk, mascara, and those jeans from college, have a life span. Don’t wait for the inevitable to happen, replace yours while you still can.

I learned that a good glaze can hide a multitude of sins. (So can careful cropping)

And I also learned that even though the cake gods weren’t listening to my prayers, my cake still tastes divine.

(adapted from Junglefrog Cooking)

5 from 2 votes

Tangerine Poppy Seed Cake

Author Sue Moran


  • 13 1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 16 Tbsp two sticks room temp butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • the seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • zest of 1 tangerine
  • 5 Tbsp tangerine juice
  • 1/4 tsp orange extract


  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • juice of 1 tangerine
  • a few drops orange extract
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds


  • set oven to 350F
  • Spray and flour a bundt pan (or a tube pan with a removable bottom)
  • Heat the poppy seed in the milk in a saucepan until almost boiling. Add the buttermilk, juice, zest and vanilla beans and set aside to cool. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between.
  • Mix the flours, baking powder, soda and salt together in a separate bowl.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the wet. Beat just until blended with each addition.
  • Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for about 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave to cool for about 15 minutes and then carefully turn it out onto a rack.
  • To make the glaze, add just enough of the tangerine juice to the sugar to make a fairly thick glaze. Add the poppy seeds and extract and stir well.
  • When the cake is cool, go to town with the glaze.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


  • I do plan to make this tangerine poppy seed cake again soon and I will probably make it in my angel food cake tube pan with the removable bottom. Even with a new bundt pan, I’m wondering if the moistness of the cake isn’t a good match for the intricate design of the bundt, with all the nooks and crannies for the cake to get stuck in.

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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2019 at 5:31 am

    Any reason you couldn’t sub ground walnuts for the almonds?

    • Reply
      March 9, 2019 at 7:41 am

      No, and that would make an interesting cake!

  • Reply
    February 11, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    13 1/2 Tbsp of poppy seeds? I am looking at another recipe for exact cake and theirs says 3 Tbsp poppy seeds….

    • Reply
      February 12, 2019 at 5:42 am

      lol, I know, this cake has a lot of poppy seeds, that’s what makes it so special. Actually, it’s adapted from a European cake, where they do use poppy seeds generously in desserts. You can feel free to use less 🙂

  • Reply
    May 7, 2017 at 7:50 am

    Is the amount for poppy seeds correct? 13 1/2 tablespoons? Thank you

    • Reply
      May 7, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Haha, it is, but I should really round down…I translated the recipe from a European recipe with weight measurements, Tracey 🙂

  • Reply
    Nancy Long
    March 14, 2016 at 4:27 am

    I actually broke down and bought some Baker’s Joy not long ago and have found it to be wonderful. Works much better than just reg. greasing & flour or the reg. spray

    • Reply
      Nancy Long
      March 14, 2016 at 4:40 am

      Also, one of my pans is a light weight cheap ones that I’ve had for at least 30 years and it still works great.

    • Reply
      November 28, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      That’s good to know, thanks Nancy!

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